AG: I imagine you’re being asked pretty frequently this weekend about whether or not you’d consider a run for the party leadership.
JT: Only by media, but yeah.
AG: What do you think it says about the Liberal party or the culture of Canadian politics that you keep getting asked that question?
JT: I’d actually approach the question from a different angle. What I’m getting an awful lot of is people who seem very pleased that we’re not divided and talking about leadership right now. You can’t open a newspaper without seeing all this speculation about, “will Bob go? Will Bob not go?” The media narrative is very much about leadership, but the conversations here are not.
The conversations we’re having are all about the base taking its place, regardless of who gets to be leader. So it’s not something that we have to worry about. And yes, we’re used to looking at politics at a leadership level. That’s how people take their cues in politics. So the Liberal party is really not used to being in this vacuum where there is no talk of leadership. I think people have a sense that it is a comfortable place to be. It’s nice, after the wars, after all the fighting we’ve had in the Liberal party, to be able to not be all divided about leadership.
AG: So how do you change the discourse? How do you get the leadership question to stop being asked?
JT: You get media to actually do their homework and write actual stories and actually talk about something other than who gets to be at the head of that, or who gets to run this, or who gets to run that. Talking about leadership is a shortcut that has become easy for people to consume what politics is all about. We have 308 Members of Parliament who try to do the best job they can to represent their constituents, but people just talk about the colour of the party and the style of the leader. We need to go a little bit beyond that.